PITTSBURGH -- As the Capitals and Penguins eagerly await tonight’s Game 4 of their first-round playoff series, Pittsburgh authorities might want to put out an APB on Sidney Crosby.
Through the first three games against the Capitals, the Penguins’ captain has zero points, six shots and a minus-3 rating.
“The players against him keep an inside position,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s very skilled and we’re making him play some defense, taking away his time and space. We’ve done a pretty good job of that.”
In the first three games of this series, the Caps’ top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie has outscored the Penguins’ top line of Conor Sheary, Patric Hornqvist and Crosby by a 4-1 count. The Caps’ top defense pairing of Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen has gotten a big assist.
"I'd say the first two games we definitely had some good chances, had a lot of zone time, and that's more of what we're looking for,” Crosby said on Wednesday. “If we have a game like that we'll generate a lot more and hopefully bury a few chances. You always want more and if you look at last game we weren't there, we didn't generate enough, we were on our heels a lot and we've gotta find a way to put some pucks to the net."
Asked why the Caps had the Penguins on their heels in Game 3, outshooting them 49-23, Crosby said, "I don't know. I think we just weren't aggressive. When you're aggressive you force mistakes, you don't allow them time and space. They're a good team and if you give them time and space they're going to make plays. Maybe we were overthinking things a little too much, or maybe once you get a lead it's hard not to sit on it a bit. I think we were guilty of that."
The Penguins are also 0-for-10 on the power play through three games of this series and have found it difficult to break the Caps’ outstanding penalty kill, led by Jay Beagle, Daniel Winnik, Mike Richards, Tom Wilson, Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen, John Carlson and Taylor Chorney.
“As the series goes on you're going to see special teams are more and more important,” Crosby said. “With how tight the games are, whoever wins that special teams battle is probably going to end up winning the game.
“It's just understanding we've gotta be better there and find a way to help our team out by getting those goals on the power play. Up to this point it hasn't been as good as we want it to, but hopefully the best is yet to come for that and we can make sure it helps us win some games here."
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